Clinical Cases

Gluten Sensitivity in a Woman of 40

Gladys Miu
Written by Gladys Miu

Homeopathy student Glady Miu shares a case of gluten sensitivity in a woman of 40. Mind, anxiety, ailments from, abdomen, pain, cramping, eating after and eruptions, upper arms were among the symptoms leading to the simillimum.

Gluten-sensitivity seems to have been growing at a rapid pace these days, at least in North America. One research study claims that based on self-reported data, there are anywhere between 0.5% and 13% of people suffering from it, and it’s more prevalent in women, teenagers and people in their 30s and 40s[1].

However, statistics like this could be misleading because there are no reliable diagnostic tools for gluten-sensitivity. Information and recipes are all over magazines, newspaper, or any health-related websites. Walking around the city, one can find specialty gluten-free restaurants, and in grocery stores there are more varieties of gluten-free products that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

There are many theories as to the cause of gluten-sensitivity. There are also debates whether people are reacting to gluten or other components of the wheat. Gluten protein is in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (cross between wheat and rye), and can be found in many types of foods beyond bread and pasta[2].

Symptoms of gluten-sensitivity (non-celiac) can include gastrointestinal upsets (bloating, gas, diarrhea/constipation, nausea), headache, brain fog, joint pain, numbness in legs/arms/fingers, or fatigue[3]. Gluten-sensitivity is similar to celiac disease, but without the antibodies and intestinal damages of celiac. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation[4], Celiac disease is a hereditary disease that “occurs in genetically predisposed people, where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine”. And unlike gluten-sensitivity, celiac in adults is “less likely to have digestive symptoms, with only one-third experiencing diarrhea”.

The Case

May 20, 2019

Tammy[5] is a 40-year-old female who came to me in May 2019 because of her sensitivity to gluten. She suspects that she might have celiac disease. She did genetic testing and although her symptoms are getting worse, she does not have the genes that are linked to celiac disease. Tammy got concerned in the last two years when the symptoms got worse and so she decided to try treating it with homeopathy.

Reflecting back on it, Tammy said the first negative reaction she had from gluten was likely about 20 years ago when she was in university and eating lots of pizza.

What was it like?

Cramping, lower GI bloating, diarrhea within five minutes of eating. I would have stomach-ache, seize up and become constipated. Also, rash whenever eating wheat. The rash responds well to Benadryl but cramping and bloating would last for 6-8 hours.

What happened two years ago?

I was leaving my job, under lots of stress and was also moving, not working out and eating whatever I want with lots of wheat. The rash started and became full body.

Tell me more about the rash.

It always starts at the left around elbow, upper arm. In October, it started down the left arm, across the neck, to the right arm, then face and scalp, and both legs. They can be tremendously itchy, looks almost like poison ivy, little bubbles. My doctor called it “dermatitis herpetiform”. It goes away instantly with Benadryl within 20 minutes, fast going away and coming.

Tell me more about the stomach pain.

Lower GI [pointing to below bellybutton] bloating, particularly right before bowel movement.

When was the earliest you can remember it happened? What do you think caused it?

High school. Had severe cramps and had to run to the bathroom every now and then after meals. Not sure if related, but my instinct is that I had lots of emotional stress in middle school, both in school and at home.

What else?

Very sensitive to mosquito bites and very allergic to cigarette smoke. Also allergic to bee stings. Similar types of hives would show up everywhere in the body. And similar sun rash over the summer. When the weather cools, everything cools down.

Other symptoms mentioned:

  • Feels hot the moment she moves
    • “very fiery system, the moment I move, even in winter. Would take clothes off and look red. Feel hot, look flushed and radiating heat.”
    • “Core is hot, like a fire”
  • Headache before menses
    • “Tightness around the head where one would wear a headband in the 80s”
    • Better – sleep, massage, hot shower, fresh air, cool
    • Worse – motion, bright light, loud noise, hot stuffy room
    • “All symptoms would be gone after sleep”

Rubrics identified[6]

Mind, anxiety, ailments from, mental and emotional consequence of (89)

Abdomen, pain, cramping, griping, eating after (61)

Extremities, eruptions, upper arms (68)

Skin, eruptions, urticaria, nettle-rash (330)

Generals, heat, flushes of, exertion, from slight (13)

Head, pain, headache, pressing, menses, before (14)

Generals, sleep, amel., after (126)

Remedy choice – Nux-vomica

Nux-vomica fits the symptom picture well, particularly all the sensitivities to sound, light, food, sudden motion, insect bites, etc. Kent’s lecture on this remedy started with “everywhere in this remedy, we observe the striking over-sensitiveness of the patient, it is brought out in all the symptoms”[7].

Morrison[8] said “on the physical plane, Nux-v pathology centers largely on the gastronintestinal tract”. We see here Tammy’s physically issues first started with GI symptoms. Tammy also indicated that when she was younger, all the anxiety and stress were felt in her stomach.

Prescription: Nux-vomica 200C, water dose, taken once daily.

3 months later (August 2019)

Tammy came back after being on the remedy for about 2 months with much improvement. The rash and constipation went out in the first month. Changes noted include:

  • After taking the remedy at night, I feel like the rash bumps up a little and then gets better the next day
  • The sun doesn’t seem to be triggering anything this year though mosquitos are still a problem. Rash in general is less intense and last shorter.
  • There was a lot of going back and forth of regular stool and diarrhea and constipation. Now this month bowel movement has been healthy and consistent
  • Headache before menses is much, much better
  • Not as easily heated and it’s been really good because I love summer so now can go outside much more
  • Since taking the remedy, the energy level is really good; feel like a 14-year old again!

Prescription: Increased the potency to 1M since Tammy felt the improvements were leveling off. Reduced the frequency to once a week.

Another 3 months later (November 2019)

This is about a month and a half after taking 1M.

What happened since we last talked?

Feeling very energetic, no rash since August, including a contamination [accidentally ate some wheat pasta] in September, there was no rash, might have a little bit of constipation, no cramp at all! Feels like body is functioning a lot better.

Digestion?

Stools have been really hard. Don’t know if it’s “too hard”. I remember it being like this when I was in high school. Maybe this is healthy for me.

Also noticed being more gassy and burping than before I started the remedy.

Headache before menses?

The headache and tight muscles are much reduced. So much so that this month the period took me by surprise!

Prescription: Same remedy and same posology as Tammy continues to show improvement

2 months later (January 2020)

Tammy reported things are great. Still noticing shifts with the remedy, and the gluten-sensitivity has straightened out for the most part; no constipation or diarrhea, no hard stool.

New symptom reported – I think I’m allergic to a plant in my neighborhood. And also to air pollution. I used to cough a lot, but now just occasionally will have more phlegm.

Tell me more about this

It’s locational. If I’m away from home then I’m fine. I would get phlegmy in the throat, sitting in the throat. I can hear it in the cough. The cough was really bad in early 20s with eating wheat. Last few years, it was a terrible, persistent cough that would go on for months after travelling to a heavy air pollution place. This winter haven’t had the persistent cough.

Prescription: Same remedy and same posology as Tammy continues to improve. The rate of improvement seems to have slowed down but no relapse has been reported

Conclusion

Here we see a case where the reaction to gluten was reduced starting with the first dose and continued reducing over time. Now Tammy doesn’t have to worry about cross-contamination in restaurants. We know the remedy has curative effects also because of the improvement in Tammy’s physical generals – her energy level, heat flushes. This case shows where homeopathy is helpful when [elimination] diet alone is not sufficient.

[1] Barbaro, MR et al. : “Recent advances in understanding non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, F1000 Research. 11 October 2018. 24 March 2020 <http://www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182669/#_ffn_sectitle>

[2]“What is Gluten?” Celiac disease foundation. 24 March 2020 <http://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/waht-is-gluten/>

[3]“Symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” Beyond Celiac. 24 March 2020 http://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/symptoms/

[4]“What is Celiac Disease?” Celiac disease foundation. 24 March 2020 <http://celiac.org/about -celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/>

[5] Patient’s name has been changed to protect patient confidentiality

[6] Complete 2018 repertory, Vision software, v1.0035

[7] Kent, James Tyler. Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Vision Software, v1.0035

[8] Morrison, Roger. Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms. Grass Valley: Hahnemann Clinic Publishing, 1993

About the author

Gladys Miu

Gladys Miu

Gladys Miu is a graduate of the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine and is a registered homeopath with the College of Homeopaths of Ontario. She became interested in holistic health as a way to help herself and the health of family and friends. This eventually led her to studying homeopathy. Prior to being a homeopath, Gladys was a public sector executive for almost 20 years. It was in dealing with her own health issues that prompted her to leave the hectic city life to be closer to nature. She now lives and has a private practice in the rural town of Mulmur, Ontario along with her husband, cat, chickens and all her plants. Along with studying homeopathy, she also has a strong interest and practices Qigong and meditation. Gladys studied Economics at the University of British Columbia and completed a Master’s degree in financial economics at the University of Toronto.

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